Barbara Fister tagged
me with this question some time ago and I've been extremely slow in responding to it. Partly out of laziness, but also because it's one of those questions like 'how do you breathe?'. Reading is second nature to many of us, at least round here, so it's hard to be conscious of our reasons.
For me, the main reason I read is to escape. It sounds a little gloomy, but when I was a kid I was disappointed in the world being a series of mundane activities. Go to school, go home, eat dinner, sleep. I wanted there to be something more. Initially I was drawn to science fiction for this reason, because the worlds were so completely different to my own. And so I read a lot of it. I didn't get to crime fiction until only a few years ago.
I used to hate stories about people. I was more interested in ideas, alternate realities, aliens. It took me the longest time to realise that at the core of all stories, they were about people anyway.
My reasons for reading have expanded since then. I read to learn new things, experience new places, ideas, people. I read to hold a mirror up to what I know of life. But in the end, it always comes down to escaping, because it's so much damned fun.
I'd be interested in hearing other people's thoughts on the matter.